Eavesdropping on Australian ecoregions

Australian Acoustic Observatory

Something you need to know when you’re working with scientists to put an Australian Acoustic Observatory website together is this: You say ‘day-ta’; I say ‘day-ta’. In other words, no one with any kind of clue (and with any kind of accent) will be pronouncing ‘data‘ as ‘dahh-ta’.

And that’s not the only thing I’ve learned working on the website for this groundbreaking five-year ecological monitoring project alongside Site Coordinator, Dr David Tucker. I’ve learnt that eavesdropping on birds can be just as colourful as spying on them when you learn how to read false image spectograms and interpret the day-ta.

As an open data project, sound recordings collected all over the country will be available to scientists, artists, educators, students, the public (and interesting combinations thereof) to freely use under a CC BY 4.O licence.

I’m proud to be making this small to contribution to a project with such wide-ranging benefits and applications. And I’m inclined to agree with Leah Barclay, an innovative sound artist, composer and researcher who sees ‘the value of acoustic ecology as a socially engaged, accessible, interdisciplinary field that can inspire communities across the world to listen to the environment’.

The A2O partnership is led by the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) Ecoacoustics Research Group, in collaboration with the Queensland Cyber Infrastructure Foundation and Birdlife Australia, and funded by an Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities (LIEF) grant.

The project also acknowledges all the Traditional Owners of land on which the acoustic observatory data is collected, and recognises the key role that Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander peoples have always played in protecting and conserving the land and sea.

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